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perjantai 20. joulukuuta 2013

Sendelica: The Megaliths – The Movie Soundtracks Volume 1 & 2


Welch psych/space rock band Sendelica has from the beginning been interested also in films and making soundtrack music, so it’s only natural for them to release an album full of music used in movies. And they sure know how to create atmospheric, spacey and floating soundscapes! The standard version of The Megaliths – The Movie Soundtracks Volume 1 & 2 is limited to 200 numbered copies and includes two discs and well over two hours of music. The earliest stuff included was recorded in 2008 to Grant Wakefield’s art house movie “Sleepwalker Fever”. This gave the band the possibility to “explore more ambient & chilled out landscapes”, and they have continued on that path as well as keeping on rocking. Since then, they have recorded soundtrack music to three more movies, “Trillian Eight” (2010), “Ritual” (2011) and “When the Rising Apes Meet the Falling Angels” (2012). Most of the stuff herein has not been released in audio format before. There is also a very limited (just 25 copies!) 3CD version that comes in a cool box and also includes a build-it-yourself Sendelicahenge megalith model! This is sold-out already, of course… You can also just buy the digital version from the band’s Bandcamp site.

The album begins with a version of “Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic entitled “Return of the Maggot Brains”. This starts off with strange swooshes and narration, and then we have the much loved, simple but beautiful guitar chords and very nice solo guitar work. We also get some psychedelic, effected spoken samples later on. This is a rather different version than the one Sendelica recorded for the Fruits de Mer 7”. I love it! “To Create Is Divine” is another peaceful, heavenly ambient piece that turns into sort of soft dub and also has great, jazzy saxophone. “Mr. Floyd Walker” is very dreamy and floating at first, but there are also some electronic elements later on. “Possessor of Your Heart” is a bit shorter (just 7:39!) experimental ambient track with jazzy sax and “Sun of Sunfaded” a pleasant, sunny and positive piece with soft drums, bass, pretty guitar and saxophone. “Trillian Eight” is an almost 30-minute megalith that starts off very slowly. There’s a lot of different, experimental, strange but lovely stuff happening in this one… Psychedelic bliss. “Arizona Beginnings” is a more song-oriented, peaceful and pretty track and “Soundscape in G”, as you might have guessed, a more droney affair. “Sketches of Cardiza” has a slow, nice bass line, quiet guitar and some more moody sax. Very small-scale but enjoyable. “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Satori” is very quiet at first but it grows a bit along the way into hypnotic, mesmerizing haze. The longest track on this compilation is the 31-minute-long “When the Falling Angels Meet the Rising Apes” that is also the track that rocks out the most. There’s a steady drum beat going on and lots of guitar jamming. After ten minutes the track cools down into laid-back ambient for a while, and then we get some bluesy freak-outs until things get peaceful again. What a wonderful way to end this marvelous, laid-back and floating release! If you are a fan of the more ambient Sendelica stuff this release is definitely for you.

keskiviikko 18. joulukuuta 2013

Paranoid Motives: 2

Paranoid Foundation (PF15)

This is the 15th release by the very productive, non-gigging Paranoid Foundation crew fronted by Cris Lee. If you are familiar with this bunch you know what you’ll get: cold, dark, industrial and sometimes hallucinogenic ambient soundscapes with gloomy, urban narrated stories. But there’s more. At 35 minutes this release is a bit longer than usual, but the 14 tracks are all pretty short (from just under two minutes to 3:41 in length). The tracks that draw my attention the most are “A Few Moments Adrift” and “Something I believed In” with their beautiful, melancholic piano, the more rhythmical, hypnotic and psychedelic “They Lose Me” and the post-punk styled, more rocking tracks “Era of Refusal”, “On the Market”, “New Logic” and “No More Disater” in particular. The rest is pure experimental, avant-garde, dark ambient stuff, and that’s just fine. Apart from the piano (Ferhun Kahraman) mastering and artwork (Andrew Walker) everything is done by Cris Lee and Rory Kettles, and they have once again done a good job. There is a right moment for this kind of music as well. The album is only available as a digital download from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc.

Top 20 gigs I saw in 2013

In alphabetical order:

Black Sabbath: Hartwall Arena, Helsinki
Camera (their own gig & the gig with Michael Rother): Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Carlton Melton: Liverpool Psych Fest
Circle & Mika Taanila: Pneuma Festival, Kiasma, Helsinki
The Cosmic Dead: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Dead Skeletons: Kuudes Aisti Festival, Helsinki
Death Hawks: Le Bonk, Helsinki
Electric Moon: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Jacco Gardner: Liverpool Psych Fest
Goat: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Moon Duo: Liverpool Psych Fest
The Oscillation: Liverpool Psych Fest
The Pretty Things: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Psychedelic Warlords: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Tame Impala: Vega, Copenhagen
Ufomammut: Kuudes Linja, Helsinki
Uncle Acid: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Vibravoid: Slip Inside This Club, Bar Loose, Helsinki
White Hills: Kuudes Linja, Helsinki
White Manna: Liverpool Psych Fest

It was a great year!!!

Some videos from those gigs:


tiistai 17. joulukuuta 2013

The Cosmic Dead / Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Split

The Old Noise (TON001)

Glasgow-based psychedelic space rockers The Cosmic Dead have been big favourites here at Psychotropic Zone for a few years now. I’ve also been lucky enough to see them live at Roadburn Festival and Liverpool Psych Fest, and both times the band was very successful in totally blowing my mind. Pigs X 7 is a new band from Newcastle that I had not previously even heard about. They maybe have a bit more punky and experimental touch than TCD but are very well suited to be included on the same LP with them.

There is one, massive, over 20-minute track by each band. On the A side TCD performs a very hypnotic but also groovy track called “Djamba”. A 10-minute live version of this track has been previously released on the Live at the Note tape (now when do we see a vinyl version of that?), but this is pretty different and twice as long so it doesn’t matter. The rhythm section lays down a mesmerizing but surprisingly groovy beat while the guitars and synth create a hallucinogenic drone on top of it. This is instrumental stuff as usual, but there are some spoken words in the middle to enhance the highly psychedelic, trippy vibe. Things get a bit more intense towards the end, especially in the drum department, before the track dissolves into million little sparkles in the end. This is an excellent, atmospheric and spacey track that will get you “out there”! On the flip side, “The Wizard and the Seven Swines” starts to rock out almost right away with a heavy, punky and repetitive mid-paced guitar riff and pounding rhythm section. The rough vocals join in shortly. Is this some sort of kraut punk? The simple but very effective chorus is closer to stoner rock. There are also some more new, rocking sections and slower, even noisy parts to keep things interesting for over 20 minutes. This is not overtly psychedelic or spacey but energetic and I do like it. This limited album comes on nice transparent purple vinyl and will probably sell out rather soon.

maanantai 16. joulukuuta 2013

Octopus Syng now at Bandcamp!

Check out the two first albums by Finnish psychedelic rock/folk/pop band Octopus Syng:

Astral Visions Radio: Some of the Best Stuff in 2013 (show #47)

Astral Visions Radio Show - Music from Psychotropic Zone, is hosted by DJ Astro

E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr - "Prolog im Himmel" (from Kometenbahn)
White Hills - "In Your Room" (from So You Are...So You'll Be)
White Manna - "I'm Comin Home" (from Dune Worship)
Monster Magnet - "Last Patrol" (from Last Patrol)
Vibravoid - "Magic Mirror" (from Delirio Dei Sensi)
The Black Angels - "I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)" (from Indigo Meadow)
The Oscillation - "Descent" (from From Tomorrow)
The Bevis Frond - "Opthalmic Microdots" (from White Numbers)
Permanent Clear Light - "Constant Gardener" (from Beyond These Things)
Black Lizard - "Fucking Up" (from S/T)
The Lucid Dream - "A Mind at Ease Is a Mind at Play" (from Songs of Lies and Deceit)
Wooden Shjips - "Ghouls" (from Back to Land)
Chrome - "Fukishima (Nagasaki)" (from Half Machine From The Sun)
Goat - "Disco Fever (Live)" (from Live Ballroom Ritual)
Death Hawks - "Black Acid" (from S/T)
Causa Sui - "The Juice" (from Euporie Tide)
Earthless - "Equus October" (from From the Ages)
Spids Nogenhat - "Lolland Falster" (from Kommer med Fred)
Oresund Space Collective - "Neptune Rising" (from Organic Earthly Floatation)
Hawkwind - "Sacrosanct" (from Spacehawks)
The Cosmic Dead- "Inner Sanctum" (from Inner Sanctum)
Kimi Karki - "Taxiarch" (from The Bone of My Bones)

Just go to:

The Higher Craft: Solar Tides

Self-released CD-R

The Higher Craft from the UK has gone through some line-up changes and seems to now focus on highly limited, personal CD-R editions instead of officially released CD’s. This is a 54-minute album (they call it an EP) including mostly new studio tracks, a couple of re-masters and also some live recordings. The track info on the nice looking cover booklet is way too small for us humans to read (probably for fairies only), but I can still make out the track titles. The music is a nice mixture of psychedelic, dreamy and atmospheric soundscapes, folky pagan vibes, space rock and metal. Even some electronic music!
“Solar Tides” starts off things in a mysterious, dreamy way. “Flight Horns” has acoustic guitar and a somehow jazzy vibe. “Travel Unto Thee” starts to rock out more and there’s also some heavy metal guitar and double bass drums. “Can You See in the Dark?” is a short, a bit strange electronic dance song, and “Window in the Water” an acoustic folk piece with dreamy, beautiful atmosphere. I like this one! “My Philosophy (Re-Mastered)” is similar in style but a lot weirder and darker. Another re-mastered track is the wonderful “Gateway, 2nd Movement” that is perhaps the best piece on this release. Nice combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation. “Lunar Tides” is another favourite of mine. It begins in a very spacious, ambient and experimental way but then there’s some soft, hypnotic electronic beat, synthesizers, psychedelic effects etc. “The Receiver (Live @ Alchemy 2012)” rocks fast and hard and has a rather good sound quality as well. Unfortunately the sound quality is not that good on the interesting The Magic Mushroom Band cover “Magick Eye (Live Cover @ KKPDF 2011)” or “Lazy Daisy (Live @ Deep in the Woods 20120)” but the great vibe is still transferred. The disc ends with a short, hallucinogenic narrative piece “Terminator”. Wow! I really wish this band would make another proper album release like The Quest into the SteppingStoneAge masterpiece. The singer Christina Poupoutsi is also preparing her solo album which should be pretty interesting.

perjantai 13. joulukuuta 2013

Belsebub & Perisynnit: Järjen Isä

Self-released CD EP

This is the first EP by Finnish band Belsebub & Perisynnit that was formed in 2011 in Lappeenranta. Their music is some kind of a combination of psychedelia, folk, punk and Finnish rock music. Sometimes it works pretty well, but sometimes it doesn’t. The band was first formed by the duo of Hra Luger (guitars, mouth organ, vocals) and Hän Sölo (bass). Then they took in a percussionist called Kosmodeus who plays cajón, djembe and tambourine. I think it’s good that they don’t have a full drum kit, since it gives their band some more character. Little bit later also violinist Jenni joined the band. There is definitely also uncredited synthesizer on this EP which is great. “Liukas Linda” opens up the disc with a bit weird, punky touch. The acoustic guitar and synthesizers give the some more air to this rather fast track. The melodic “Vuosia” sounds more like Finnish mainstream melancholic pop/rock. “Kuoleman kuuraketti” is more interesting stuff reminding me of Silun Veljet or Death Hawks. The repetitive “Illan viimeiset hitaat” has some Velvet Undergound and Kauko Röyhkä so it can’t be all bad, although the lyrics are very pessimistic. The EP ends with a long trip called “El Magico” that like completely form another plane. It builds up slowly with deep synth sound and hypnotic acoustic guitar while the violin adds a mysterious melody. The mantra-like vocals join in after about four minutes and they tell about some mystical magician who’s coming. Later on the track speeds up, but cools down into the slow and hypnotic going again. This is very psychedelic, I like this stuff! I hope the band writes more stuff like this and drops the funny mainstream clichés and lyrics about drinking too much booze.

Kimi Kärki: The Bone of My Bones

Svart Records

Kimi Kärki is a guitar player who used to play in the legendary Finnish doom metal band Reverend Bizarre as Peter Vicar. After that he has formed a new, international doom metal band Lord Vicar that has become very popular in the doom circles. His other musical projects include prog band Orne (featuring the rest of Reverend Bizarre among others) and cosmic electronic music band E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr. He is the latest member of progressive indie rock band Uhrijuhla and during the last two or three years he has also begun to perform folk-based music in the classic, acoustic singer/songwriter style. The Bone of My Bones is Kimi’s first solo album and he has some guests helping him out on vocals (Mat McNerney, John Richardson, Anna-Elena Pääkkölä and Pirita Känkänen) and the album was created with the aid of producer Joona Lukala, who has been involved in Kimi’s projects before as well. The mostly acoustic, peaceful, gentle, melancholic and beautiful music has been inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Neil Young, but you can also hear some gloomy doom elements as well as 60s/70s psych folk vibes on some songs. The instrumentation is rather sparse and Kimi’s 6 & 12-string acoustic guitars are the main instruments. There’s also some electric guitar on several songs, as well as organ and Mellotron sounds. The lyrics are often very deep and introspective and some of them are based on literal sources and sometime Kimi’s personal dreams.

There are seven tracks on the album. The pretty and simple “I Am Aries” starts off things in very pleasant moods. Mat’s harmony vocals add a great extra layer on the second verse and the female backing vocals are also very welcome. There is also a video made of this song. “Red Rooster” sung by Mr. Richardson sounds more like hippie US/UK folk and also has some nice electric guitar lead work and quiet organ. The vocals sound somehow ancient and wise. Another great song! One of my favourites is the mystical and tragic ballad of lost love and trust including witchcraft, “Young Goodman Brown” that is based on the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne published in 1835. Some of the vocals remind me of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”… There’s also a bit more energetic part in the middle. “My Name Is Free” is a melancholic and melodic song that has some great acoustic guitar work, deep, retrospective vocals in the vein of Cohen and again some organ and female backing vocals as well as whistling and later on also some Mellotron sounds. Great! “The Lord Who Never Sleeps” starts off with some ghostly synth sounds before the warm, crispy acoustic guitars begin. This song also has some cool e-bow guitar to give it a psychedelic edge. The overall feel is pretty positive and liberating on this one. “Archipelago” is again much more melancholic, sort of mysterious stuff, especially the beginning before the vocals join in just before the two-minute-marker. I guess this is a majestic praise to the sea and archipelago and works very well as such. Mat’s vocals work very well here too as well as the female vocals. Towards the end I’m reminded of the acoustic stuff by Kuusumun Profeetta that I absolutely love. The atmospheric last track “Taxiarch” is by far the most psychedelic and so naturally the highlight for me… This is truly heavenly stuff and an instrumental apart from some whispering and mantras in Latin. What a brilliant and blissful ending for a wonderful album that shows that Kimi is also a master of the acoustic guitar and a fluent, impressive singer. We of course already knew that he can write amazing songs. You can witness one of his rare solo performances tonight at Svart Night #6, Bar Loose, Helsinki, along with Seremonia and Domovoyd, two other marvelous bands on Svart Records. I will be there for sure!

torstai 12. joulukuuta 2013

Black Rainbows: Holy Moon

Heavy Psych Sounds (HPS012)

Black Rainbows is a heavy psych/stoner rock band from Italy. I have previously heard the latest full-length Supermothafuzzalicious!! and the marvelous split album with US heavy space rock legends Farflung, and I have been digging their stuff. Their biggest influences must be Monster Magnet, Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Colour Haze, but there’s also a healthy dose of 70’s hard rock and more psychedelic and spacy elements in their music. Holy Moon is a new 36-minute 12” EP that has six tracks on it. The title track “Holy Moon” is a slow, heavy and spacey instrumental with some cool spoken samples about space. There’s also some of space sounds and organ to complete the trip. This reminds me of 80’s Monster Magnet. Very cool! The groovy “Monster of the Highway” sounds more like Fu Manchu or even Blue Cheer and also has some nice solo guitar work. “Chakra Temple” starts off with some throat singing, and this is pretty spaced out, atmospheric, hypnotic and psychedelic instrumental piece. There are some similarities with Colour Haze, for example. I like it a lot! “The Hunter” is groovy and catchy stoner/desert rock again and a good choice for the promo video track. This rocks. “If I Was a Bird” has some acoustic Led Zeppelin/Southern/blues vibes and this is the weakest track in my opinion but still not bad. The last track is the extended MC5 cover “Black to Comm” that lasts for twelve and a half minutes and is killer cocktail of raw proto-hard rock and Hawkwind like space effects and mellow keyboards played with a loose, jamming attitude. This is brilliant ending for a great mini LP that’s available on different coloured, very limited vinyl editions.

keskiviikko 11. joulukuuta 2013

Blim: Zero / No Frills – 20th Anniversary Remastered Editions

BLIMmusic (BLM-001)

Blim was a British psychedelic and progressive space rock band in the early 90’s strongly influences by Gong, Here & Now and Ozric Tentacles among others. Some of the members later founded the great heavy psych/space rock band Omnia Opera that released some stuff on Delerium Records. Their spacey and instrumental music has lots of similarities with other free festival bands that started around the same time, but they still seem to have a sound of their own, especially on the second, more experimental and stylistically varied tape. They released just two tapes which was quite normal at the time, and those tapes have now been reissued in carefully remastered form on this nice double CD that also has some bonus tracks. The music of Blim was mostly instrumental.

Zero was recorded at Squalor Studios, Kidderminster, UK in 1992. I really like it’s spacey, progressive and psychedelic vibe and band is on fire. I mean, these guys could really play already in 1992. Especially the soaring guitar solos are really awesome. Most of the tracks have lots of keyboards and spacey effects & space sounds. There is a strong Gong vibe on several tracks and it’s emphasized by the great saxophone. There’s also some flute to add some prog and even folky feel at times. The music often rocks pretty hard, but there are also some laid-back, floating moments as well as majestic, uplifting sections “Echo-Logical” sounds quite a lot like the Ozrics or Steve Hillage with its delay guitar and danceable beats. “Hoffman Bike Pump” is rather funky and jazzy. I’m really amazed that nobody put this out on vinyl back in the day, since this truly is that good stuff! The three, sort of funny, more anarchistic bonus tracks also have vocals but the sound quality is not as good as on the main tracks.

I guess that on No Frills the band wanted to go forward from the Gong/Here & Now style, and there’s lots of different, weird stuff going on. The funky and experimental going on “The Noup” reminds me of the American band Primus, but I don’t know if these guys ever heard their music or not. The music has gone into more progressive, experimental and just plain weird direction. There are still some psychedelic and spacey parts in there, of course. The airy and groovy “Ocean” is a very nice track, for example. The funk/jazz/fusion elements are the strongest on a track called “Sparceley & Much” that sounds a bit like Zappa or 80’s King Crimson as well. There are also some dub influences in there too. The longest (12:56) track “Beejayone” is one of my favourites, mainly because it doesn’t have that much weird funky stuff on it. This disc has four bonus tracks that vary in between ambient, psych rock and weird experimental stuff. I must say that I prefer the first tape, even though No Frills might be the more ambitious of these releases. This new 2CD is a very welcome addition to any 80s/90s UK psych/festy collection and a must-have to those of us who have read the Adrift in the Ether: The Current State of the British Underground book by Christopher Williams as thoroughly as I have.


Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner: Revelation Space

Riot Season (REPOSELP/CD036)

Mainliner is a psychedelic noise/hard rock band from Japan led by Acid Mother Temple’s wild guitar terrorist,l Speed Guru Kawabata Makoto. The band’s been together occasionally for closer to 20 years now. When Riot Season re-released their earlier album Mellow Out ten years ago, some customers returned the album since they though there was something wrong with it because of all the noise. No, that’s exactly how it was intended to sound! This probably gives you a good clue of what we’re dealing with here. Everything is recorded in-the-red so that the whole freak-out music is distorted and very loud and noisy.

The CD and very limited tape versions of this new album include five songs. The slow and heavy “Revelation Space” starts off with totally freaky, extremely loud guitar noise that keeps on coming, and it’s hard to hear the rhythm section clearly at times. Luckily the mantra-like, hypnotic and echoed vocals balance the chaos a bit and give it more space. The beat speeds up towards the end. This is wild stuff for eleven and a half minutes! “Taitan” is a bit shorter track that is at first a bit more atmospheric stuff with feedback & wailing vocals. It grows into total noise mayhem, of course! “D.D.D.” is two minutes of high-energy punk noise, “The Dispossessed” has a distinct hard rock riff and those echoed, mantra-like vocals again. This is one of the most structured songs on the album, although it’s still very noisy and Makoto bursts into his chaotic guitar solos from time to time. This track is sadly not featured on the limited vinyl version. Also the over 20-minute “New Sun” has at first a rather normal, constant hard rock riff and echoed vocals, but also some variation and lots of guitar freak-out jamming after a few minutes. This gets faster and faster towards the end and will burn your brain to a crisp! This album is definitely not for the faint-hearted but if you want a full dose of psychedelic noise rock mayhem then this is your thing.

tiistai 10. joulukuuta 2013

Avarus: Salon des Amateurs

Pome Pome Tones (PPT-1)

It’s been four year since the latest official Avarus albums IV and Toosassa were released, but there have been a couple of tapes since then. On Salon des Amateurs this Finnish free form experimental psych rock/folk/jazz/electronic outfit is joined by Jeffrey Alexander (electric guitar, Black Forest/Black Sea, Secret Eye Records etc.) from the US and Moritz Kleiner (synthesizer) from Germany. Other players are this time Jukka Räisänen (electric bass), Lars Mattila (electric guitar), Arttu Partinen (percussion), Tero Niskanen (synthesizer). These two, untitled side-long tracks on this very nice vinyl album were both recorded spontaneously at Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, Germany, on May 30 2011 when Avarus was on their European tour. The sound quality is good and the band is clearly in great and inspirational mood. The A side starts off slowly with some electronic sounds and hypnotic bass line and monotonic guitar while Arttu slowly lets the rhythm grow. The track gets VERY hypnotic and trance-inducing in the middle and you will be transported into this strange, psychedelic Avarus world that only exists during their gigs. On side B they have a nice, almost dub like beat going and even some chord changes, until the track cools down into weird, quiet, jazzy drone. I might not be the right person to review this music since I don’t really know many bands like this, but I think Avarus is a great band and I do enjoy their strange, improvisational aural trips even if they’re pretty primitive, monotonic and whimsical. Or maybe that’s exactly the reason!


The Of: Oh It’s the Of

Green Monkey Records (GM1019)

Okay, first of all: any band that wears home-made tin foil hats and even trousers live and has CD cover art depicting people fighting against giant crabs and other weird sea creatures etc. can’t be all bad. This is indeed very odd and psychedelic stuff. The Of is a band from Roslyn, Washington, and if the name of this tiny town rings any bells then yes, that’s where the TV show Northern Exposure was shot. Twin Peaks was also shot quite nearby at North Bend. You get the picture, I’m sure. This is the second CD released by the band this year so I guess they are quite a productive bunch. I’ve never heard of them before, though. But they really are somewhat whacky. The band is a brainchild of guitarist John Carey who has a pretty exciting playing style that sometimes brings to mind Frank Zappa (just listen to the long instrumental “Sodo Monkey Part II”). The other musician seem rather good at well, and the instrumentation includes keyboards, bass, banjo, mandolin, cello, percussion and drums and everyone expect the drummer also sings. According to John, their music “contains digested and regurgitated pop, avant-garde, rock, blues, jazz and other forms as well”, and I think he is right. With song titles like “Softbelly Crab Excerpt”, “Seagull Attack”, “Whiskey & Pills” and “Mystic Fishstick” you just can’t go wrong. There are 12 tracks on the 64-minute CD. Some of my favourites are the sort of Primus sounding “Seagull Attack”, the very weird and psychedelic, short “Can’t Stop Listening”, the rocking, fuzzy “You’re in Love with the Of” and the longest track on the CD, the over 14-minute, experimental trip “Mouse Trash “Recipe”. I get the feeling that anything could happen on The Off album and indeed almost anything does happen here… There’s some groovy Grateful Dead vibes there too (especially on “Mystic Fishstick”), but most of the album is very experimental, funny or just plain weird. The sound is pretty good considering that the album was recorded using very cheap gear. This is not the kind of music I feel like listening to everyday, but there certainly is a moment for this kind of weirdness for most of us. Check it out!

maanantai 9. joulukuuta 2013

Krautzone: Kosmische Rituale

Sulatron Records (st1304)
Krautzone was formed in 2011 by accident: this jam session just happened spontaneously and without thinking. Way to go! These psychedelic, experimental and cosmic kraut rituals feature Electric Moon’s Sula Bassana on synthies and Komet Lulu on drums (first time on drums on any album, to my knowledge!) plus other old friends from Zone Six, The Pancakes, The Spacelords etc. on more synths, guitar, bass and “cosmic atmosphere producing”… There are three long, spacey and laid-back tracks on the album that’s for now only out on limited, beautiful three-coloured marbled vinyl. “Liebe” spreads the message of free, kosmische love for 12:44 minutes, and also has some “Set the Controls…” era Pink Floyd in it. Excellent! The title track “Kosmische Rituale” is a 9:06 long piece that goes in similar paths in a rather minimal way. My favourite is “Only Fools Rush in” that takes the whole B side and really transports the listener into another, psychedelic and mystical universe. This is very hypnotic, trance-inducing and hallucinatory stuff, I love it! If you are a fan of really cosmic kraut rock like Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, The Cosmic Jokers, Amon Düül etc. you should definitely buy this album.

Papir Meets Electric Moon: The Papermoon Sessions

Sulatron Records (st1303-2)

Papir from Denmark and Electric Moon from Germany are some of the best psych rock bands in the world at the moment, so I was really looking forward to this collaborative space jam session to be released and it sure was worth the wait. The Papermoon Sessions were recorded spontaneously live but without any audience at the legendary Dragens Hule in Copenhagen on August 9th 2012 and no overdubs were added. Also featured on synths is Mogens Deenfort Pederden, the keyboard player of Øresund Space Collective. As it happens, Ralph Rjeily who was a very important and loved character in Copenhagen psych/underground music scene had just passed away that same day and the sad news had an impact on the sessions for sure. So this whole album is dedicated to Ralph, and perhaps is a bit melancholic in overall mood.
There are three instrumental tracks on this limited, coloured LP and CD. First we’ve got the 16:10 long “Farewell Mr. Space Echo” and this is very spacey and atmospheric jamming. The shorter “Red Dust” is pretty laid-back and airy stuff, but the over 20-minute “The Circle” is the main piece here. It starts to rock right away with some kraut rock vibes, but then it turns into cosmic drones after a few minutes. After a while it starts moving again and even gets a bit heavier and there’s some cool solo guitar work as well. The track gets quite intense towards the end as the musicians really start to find their psychedelic and intuitive path together. The last moments are peaceful again. Personally I would have liked to hear some more as this jamming somehow ends too soon, but lets’ hope that these guys will do more sessions together and in happier mood. This album didn’t just fit into my top 20 album list this year but I still like it a lot.

torstai 5. joulukuuta 2013

Best albums in 2013

In alphabetical order.

International Top 20:

The Bevis Frond: White Numbers
The Black Angels: Indigo Meadow
Carlton Melton: Always Even
Chrome: Half Machine from the Sun
The Cosmic Dead: Inner Sanctum
Earthless: From the Ages
Föllakzoid: II
Giobia: Introducing Night Sound
Hawkwind: Spacehawks
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Far West
Monster Magnet: Last Patrol
The Oscillation: From Tomorrow
Papir: III
Spids Nøgenhat: Kommer Med Fred
Nik Turner: Space Gypsy
Vibravoid: Delirio Dei Sensi
White Hills: So You Are... So You’ll Be
White Manna: Dune Worship
Wooden Shjips: Back to Land
Øresund Space Collective: Organic Earthly Floatation

Finnish Top 10:

Beastmilk: Climax
Black Lizard: S/T
Circle: Six Day Run
Dark Buddha Rising: Dakhmandal
Death Hawks: S/T
Domovoyd: Oh Sensibility
Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu
Permanent Clear Light: Beyond These Things
Sammal: S/T
Seremonia: Ihminen

Beastmilk: Climax

Svart Records (SVR 242)

This album somehow puts me on a flashback to my youth. In the late 80s and especially early 90s when I had listened too much to Black Sabbath and Hawkwind albums with my friends we sometimes put on black clothes and leather pants and went to see Finnish gothic rock, post-punk, death rock and new wave bands like Mana Mana, Two Witches, Shadow Play, Sunday Prize, Babylon Whores etc. in small rat holes in Helsinki like Shadow Club, Backstage and Semifinal. Some of the bands were more punky in The Misfits style, some more melancholic, dark and moody in the vein of The Cure, some had more pop elements and some messed more with metal. Hell, I even had a go in this direction myself with a band called Sixth Sense that recorded one demo and played with Two Witches among others. Helsinki-based Beastmilk somehow brings back those bitter sweet memories. They have definitely listened to their share of Joy Division, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, Christian Death, The Sisters of Mercy etc., but they still have a modern way of making apocalyptic death rock and their sound is often pretty heavy and also appeals to bored black metal musicians and fans. The band was formed in 2010 by Goatspeed (guitar) and Khvost (voice, Mat McNerney, also known from his psychedelic folk band Hexvessel and numerous other bands), the rest of the members are Arino (bass) and Pail (drums). Their first demo White Stains On Black Tape sold out very fast in 2010 and was then reissued in 2011 on 7” by Svart who also put out the next 7” EP Use Your Deluge in 2012. Beastmilk recorded their debut album Climax in Boston, US this summer with superb results and it seems this album will get them far.

The album starts off with the straight-forward “Death Reflects Us” and I got to say that Mat’s strong and soulful voice suits also this kind of music very well. A very effective, simple, heavy and rocking but melodic opener. “The Wind Blows through Their Skulls” and “Genocidal Crush” have more gothic post-punk vibes and I like those a lot. “You Are Now under Our Control” has a strong Joy Division/Bauhaus vibe, and the bit longer “Ghost out of Focus” is a bit more atmospheric, dark song and not that rocking or heavy. Great song, anyway! “Nuclear Winter” rocks hard and fast and has some The Misfits influences I think. “Fear Your Mind” could easily be an early Babylon Whores track (check out Svart’s forthcoming BW boxed set, by the way!) and “Love in a Cold World” sounds just like it was recorded in 80’s in the UK and has very cool, driving beat. The same goes for “Surf the Apocalypse” that also has dark, a bit more moody moments. The longest track (5:54) is the bit slower, gloomy and dark “Strange Attractors” that has echoes of The Cure and even Echo & the Bunnymen, although the sound is more massive. This is a very successful album and Beastmilk definitely has the potential to become huge all over the place. As it happens, they are playing live tonight at Bar Loose in Helsinki, and I will be there for sure. Check them out!

tiistai 3. joulukuuta 2013

Monster Magnet: The Last Patrol

Napalm Records (NPR 490)

Dave Wyndorf has been flying his heavy, psychedelic stoner rock space machine Monster Magnet since the late 80’s through open spaces and asteroid belts. He has had his personal problems and hard-ships like we all, but luckily the band is in great shape again and Mr. Wyndorf seems to be healthy, creative and full of power again. I’ve been a fan since the early days, so it’s a great pleasure to say that I think their new album The Last Patrol is very likely the best since Powertrip in 1998. It might even be better than Powertrip or the previous album Dopes to Infinity, but it’s too early to tell for sure. Dave and the boys have sort of returned to the roots of psychedelic, heavy stoner experience but along with the knowledge and experience gathered throughout their long space flight. The most commercial pop melodies have been dropped off, and the music pretty much focuses on what’s always been the best thing about Monster Magnet: the deep, hypnotic, mind-blowing and hallucinatory feel of hard 70’s styled stoner rock. Okay, there’s some blues, some acoustic parts etc., but most of the album just blows your mind like it should. And I think it’s really good to have also some more atmospheric sections with Mellotrons, percussion and stuff just to build up the tension again until your mind explodes.
The new album has nice tracks; the deluxe edition has two bonus tracks as well. The album is of course out also on four different, very cool looking limited 2LP vinyl editions that also include the bonus tracks. My favourite songs are the over nine-minute title track that has some of the most effective, mind-crushing riffs I’ve heard for a while, the slow and heavy “Three Kingfishers”, the fierce and energetic space rock blast “Mindless Ones” and the equally fast and furious “End of Time”. All the songs are winners, though, and the playing, singing and production are all top-notch. I especially enjoy the fact that there are lots of spacey reverb, delay and other effects on lot of songs which makes this album a pretty trippy experience. Dave’s vocals and lyrics are also excellent. This is definitely a back-to-form album and I think that everyone who used to like the band in the 90’s should really check this out. The Last Patrol rocks! The band is starting a long US tour soon for the first time in 10 years, let’s hope that everything goes well and that we will see them touring Europe again next year. Personally I’m really looking forward to see some of the new songs live!

torstai 28. marraskuuta 2013

Dj Astro's hotlist

Here's my end of November hotlist:

Wooden Shjips: Back to Land
Our Solar System: Vårt Solsystem
The New Alchemy: On the Other Side of Light
Papir Meets Electric Moon: The Papermoon Sessions
Acid Mothers Temple & Space Paranoid: Black Magic Satori
Death Hawks: S/T
Øresund Space Collective: Organic Earthly Floatation
Circle of Animals: Destroy the Light
Various Artists: Something in the Water - A Rise Above Records Compilation
Various Artists: Crystallized - Celebrating 15 years of Rocket Recordings

Here & Now: Live in London

4 Zero Records (FZ012)

Wow! It’s really nice to get a new release by this legendary UK free festival/psych/jam/space/prog/punk/dub band that has been around since the 70’s and been an inspiration to the later bands in this genre like Ozric Tentacles and The Magic Mushroom Band. They used to play with bands like Hawkwind and especially Gong and also recorded the punky and spacey Floating Anarchy Live 1977 album with Daevid Allen and Gilly Smyth as Planet Gong. This performance recorded live at Dingwalls in Camden in 2007 features two original members Steffe Sharpstrings (guitar & vocals) and Keith Th’ Bass (bass & vocals) along with Steve Cassidy (drums) and Gwyo Zepix (keyboards). What we’ve got here is a combination of previously unreleased classics that used to play live at Stonehenge and other festivals, tracks from their Ufoasis album (1995) as well as new tracks and jams.

The album begins with a seven-minute spacey & ambient intro jam that bursts into rocking that sounds just like the Ozrics. “Touched by Time” is an atmospheric and beautiful new (at least to me) track that has some dun influences and lots of spacey synth sounds. “Love of This World” from Ufoasis is groovy and quite progressive stuff and includes a killer solo by Sharpstrings and Zepix. Also “Crazy Times” is originally from Ufoasis and it has a nice, funky groove and a nice guitar solo as well. “Telly Song” is dub reggae that gets more progressive later on. “Moonrise” is a very nice instrumental space jam and then it’s time for some “Undergound Dub”. “Rattle the Cage” is a rather peaceful and pretty song with nice vocals and, once again, excellent solo guitar work. “Only Way” is likewise a beautiful, atmopsheric ballad-like song, but the band really start to rock out in the last song “Near and How” the will get any space rock fan drooling all over the place. There are plenty of psychy space sounds included and I really enjoy those. This is Here & Now at their best and this CD is worth buying for this track alone. So go and get it!

keskiviikko 27. marraskuuta 2013

Jimmy Glitschy Der Einarmige Karussellbremser: S/T

Fuzzmatazz Records
This is sort of strange, dirty stoner/rock’n’roll/disco act that was formed in 2011 after a lot of booze and bruises. They are apparently from Germany but nobody knows for sure… The main emphasis is to get the people dancing by combining heavy stoner rock to disco beats and synthesizers etc. Sounds like a cool idea! And it sort of works too. This vinyl/CD/digital album is their first full-length and they have previously released one 12” (Dance! Or! Die!, 2012). There are five members in this band, Astro Mo (vocals), Jimmy Glitschy (bass, synth), Gelenk Steffen (guitar), Rummel Dörte (drums) and Scooter Ronny (frontdancer – yes, this guy dances frantically at the front of the stage!). There’s a certain amount of humor in this band for sure...

This 39-minute album has 10 tracks on it. Things start off with the up-beat stoner/desert rocker called “Motorpsyche” and I like it. On “Dance! Or! Die!” the disco influences start to shine through, there’s even some vocoder vocals which is cool! The guitars are heavy, though, and this kicks ass. “Swallow” is pretty standard stoner/riff rock but not bad. It reminds me of Fu Manchu, QOTSA and other bands like that. I don’t care much for the dirty rock piece “Long Gone Dead” that also has harmonica. “My Baby” is on-your-face up-tempo stoner rock that will make people wild live I’m sure. “Fuzzmatazz” starts off with some feedback fuzz guitar and then a heavy, great mid-tempo riff begins. This one has a disco-like beat at times, but otherwise its good stoner rock. “We Need More Disco” focuses more on the disco vibes and has some synths but it’s still rock with a catchy chorus. The most disco-oriented (and also the most interesting…) track is “Stoned Uff’m Dancefloor” and this one even has some hit potential I think… Very cool and funny stuff! “Killswitch” has a disco beat too and this is heavy, pounding track that rocks hard. “Slowrider” is slower stuff as the name suggests, and has a sort of bluesy vibe that I don’t like that much. I wish these guys would focus more on combining disco with stoner as I think there’s potential in there. They can also just play tight heavy stoner stuff but the basic rock tracks are a bit boring. They have an interesting concept that should be developed further.

Eleven Sun: Fertile Soil

Self-released EP
Eleven Sun is a Finnish stoner rock/metal band whose first, sold-out EP Absinthe Sky I reviewed a couple of years back. The band has been together since 2008. Fertile Soil is their second EP and was released early 2013 so I guess I’m a bit late on schedule again. Sorry about that, boys… Anyway, this band is one of the best in this genre that seems to be getting more and more popular in Finland. Not that these bands sell millions of records or even get record deals, but there seems to be more and more young stoner/doom bands and also an audience for them, although it’s mostly an underground thing. This 30-minute CD EP is limited to 200 copies and has four tracks. First, we’ve got “Follow the Smoke” that’s quite good, slow, bluesy and atmospheric stoner rock. Some of the vocals are quite harsh, but usually more on the melodic side of the spectrum although still powerful. The song gets heavier towards the end. “Flies” rocks faster and brings to mind Fu Manchu at first. Nice riffs! There’s also a guitar solo jam in there. The title track “Fertile Soil” is a heavy, groovy mid-tempo stoner rock track somewhere in between Monster Magnet and Soundgarden. “Greenspiracy” is the longest track at 11:35 and starts slowly in a very hazy and stoned manner. There’s also some synthesizer in there, I think. When the track starts moving slowly I’m reminded of Amorphis a bit, although this is definitely more stoner oriented. Rather melancholic, strong and heavy stuff with nice vocal melodies. My favourite song on the EP! This is a quite moody piece but gets more intense later on. Great! Check this band out if you’re into heavy stoner rock with metal and psychedelic leanings.

tiistai 26. marraskuuta 2013

Earthbound Machine: Hungerland

Self-released EP
Earthbound Machine is a pretty new heavy stoner/doom/sludge metal band from Helsinki. Apart from the majority of bands in this genre, they have melodic, clean vocals instead of the usual harsh growling etc. and I’m happy about this. Even if it means that they sometimes bring to mind some of the 90’s grunge bands, not just because of the good singer though. They also have some sense for melody. This debut EP was recorded in 2012 but I only recently got a review copy when they were supporting the almighty Lord Vicar, who they share the wild bass player Jussi Myllykoski with. Other members are Ilkka Haavisto (vocals), Jussi Parkkali (guitar) and Ville Vierimaa (drums).

There are four tracks on this 27-minute EP. Most of the stuff is slow and heavy, as expected. The title track is probably the one that has most melody. Don’t get me wrong: when I say it has melody I don’t mean it’s not heavy at the same time because it sure is! “Reason’s Gone” is a bit more groovy, stoner like stuff and will make you to bang your head live. The chorus rocks out a bit faster too, and there is also a cool guitar solo with some jam elements. Nice! “Plain Delusion” is gloomier, slow doom metal stuff and works very well. The main riff reminds me of latter-day Candlemass a bit. Great vocals on this one as well. The track speeds up in the end. “Void of the White Light” is the longest song the EP at 8:35. This is at first a bit faster track with some lead guitar work too. The track cools down in the middle and there a pretty experimental and atmospheric instrumental part and then some heavy and slow stuff before the rocking starts again. A rather impressive track! The playing is great and the sound is also excellent. I wonder how long it takes before these guys can get an album together. In the meantime, you can buy the EP from their Bandcamp site.

Crystal Jacqueline: Sun Arise

Mega Dodo Records (Promo CD-R)
Crystal Jacqueline is a British singer with a beautiful but powerful voice and this is her debut solo album following a great cover single on Fruits de Mer that I reviewed in September. All three tracks from the 7” are also included on the album, which is great. She is also member of a band called The Honey Pot and aided on the album by his band mate Icarus Peel who’s responsible for the orchestration and production. Great work, Icarus!

The 49-minute album has 12 rather short tracks influenced by rock, pop and folk music from the 60’s to this day. Most, if not all, of the tracks have clear psychedelic elements, which of course makes the album very interesting to me… The title track starts off the disc with a nice, heavy glam rock/boogie vibe. “A Fairy Tale” is a very nice, melodic and driving cover by Second Hand and I really like this version. Another cover also included on the 7” is the dark, dreamy and haunting rendition of The Rolling Stones masterpiece “Play with Fire”. Wonderful! “Dream I” is a great, melancholic but strong original and “Who Do You Love?” a pretty, peaceful but sad ballad. “Alice” is one of the most psychedelic songs and has nice organ and acoustic guitar among other things. Welcome to Wonderland… “Cousin Jane” (The Troggs) is the last cover single track and quite minimal and short but still nice. Crystal’s lovely voice has lots of room to shine here, like on the following piece “Fly a Kite” that’s pure magical psych bliss and also rocks out later on including a great guitar solo. “By the Way” has lots of acoustic guitar and folk elements and somehow reminds me of Renaissance like the next song “I Break”. Maybe my favourite song is “Light Is Love” that after it’s psychedelic, ambient beginning starts to rock with a groovy beat and hypnotic vibe. This brings to mind old UK psych pop/rockers The Magic Mushroom Band… Amazing! It’s nice to cool down with the album’s final piece, the beautiful pop song called “Sundown”. Sun Arise is already available on CD from Mega Dodo’s Bandcamp site, for example. I’m so glad the Kickstarter campaign for this album was a success so it will be also released on coloured vinyl next year! The great cover art is by the brilliant Dale Simpson (remember his wonderful psychedelic drawings in Freakbeat magazine?).

maanantai 25. marraskuuta 2013

Dead Sea Apes: Lupus

Cardinal Fuzz (CFUL016)
Lupus is the first full-length by Manchester-based instrumental, psychedelic space drone experimentalists Dead Sea Apes. The 57-minute album was released on CD-R in 2012 on the band’s own label but has now been put out on tasty, limited golden (150 copies) as well as standard black (350 copies) vinyl 2LP by the great Cardinal Fuzz. I have heard some of the band’s earliest output and it rocked more in the kraut rock vein than this album that has lots of very atmospheric and ambient post rock moments. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they sound as good as they do here! Similar stuff can also been found on the sold-out split with Black Tempest.

The first track “Pharmacon” is just dark, hazy ambient dreamscapes but works very well if you give it a chance. The over 16-minute, very mysterious and hypnotic, “Knowledge and Conversation” starts up slowly. This has a clear guitar and bass riff as well as some light drums and drone. The track grows and gets more psychedelic and intense along the way and I really enjoy the vibe. “Still” is a shorter, rather quiet and peaceful piece, and “Something to Do with Death” a melancholic, beautiful and atmospheric number that brings to mind many post rock bands. The short “Blood Knot” is a tad more experimental. One of the key tracks is the almost 14-minute-long “Wolf of the Bees” that is slow, droney and atmospheric post rock stuff again. The album ends with the experimental, druggy short piece called “Medicine Lodge”. I do like this album, but I somehow hope that the guys would rock out more on the next album. I wonder how they are live?

torstai 14. marraskuuta 2013

Space Mirrors: The Other Gods

Transubstans Records (TRANS109)
I have been following this international space rock/prog metal collective led by Russian multi-instrumentalist Alisa Coral (a big Hawkwind fan!) since the beginning, and the band has progressed CD after CD. At first my only complaint was that the music at times got too chaotic and even disharmonic due to so many layers of different instruments and especially programming. This problem has now been solved, so that even at its fullest sound the music isn’t “too much” for my ears. The Other Gods is the second chapter in the Cosmic Horror series heavily inspired by the stories of H. P. Lovecraft, who happens to me one of my absolute favourite writers, so there’s another reason to really enjoy this album. As usual, Alisa has recruited other international musical cosmonauts on board, like new members Claudio Tirincanti (Blaze Bayley, Tim “Ripper” Owens etc.) on drums and Gabriel Monticello (Spaceseed etc.) on bass. I’m really glad the band now has a real drummer on all the tracks instead of the programmed drums that were used in the past. Martyr Lucifer has been doing the vocals for a long time and so is the case this time, as well. I prefer his dark, low voice over his harsher, sometimes even growling style that is now totally gone. There are quite a lot of vocals on the CD, and the vocals are now maybe a bit too same all the time (especially with the standard, mid-paced going that most of the Space Mirror albums are composed of), but luckily there is some variation like powerful higher-pitched and almost whispered vocals a few times. Sparky Simmons (Acid FM) recorded most of the excellent guitars. Nik Turner and Cyndee Lee Rule are among the guests again.

“Stranger in the Mirror” is a surprisingly catchy and melodic, energetic but dark metal track that opens the album in a great way. Lots of keyboards and synths, as usual, but everything is in balance. “The Nameless City” has a laid-back beginning, but then it gets pretty heavy and oppressing. “She Devil” has more melody and stuff going on and it’s a pretty great song, like the over eight-minute “Frozen City of “Cubes and Cones” that also has some more atmospheric parts and Mellotron by James Hodkinson (Pre-Med) as well as sax by uncle Nik. “(The Case of) Red Hook” sounds quite progressive but still heavy. One of the high-lights definitely is “Strange High House” that has great melodies and flute and sax by Nik. The longest track is “Times Unknown” at 10:33 starting with some exquisite piano that returns several times along the way. This is a rather epic, progressive piece that has lots of different moods and sections. Nik plays some flute again. Great! “The Other Gods” starts off with some groovy beats and spacey synth sounds. Very dark and even scary atmosphere here… The album is finished with the partially a bit slower, gloomy track “Doom of Sarnath” that is one of my favourites and also has psychedelic synths swooshes. This is a very good song too! I think that this is the best effort by Space Mirrors so far, so just check it out if you dig progressive, spacey and a little psychedelic metal like Arjen Lucassen.

keskiviikko 13. marraskuuta 2013

Astral Visions Radio Show #46 online now!

Astral Visions Radio Show - Music from Psychotropic Zone, is hosted by DJ Astro

Listen or download from:


Crystal Jacqueline - "Light Is Love" (from Sun Arise)
Nik Turner - "We Ride the Timewinds" (from Space Gypsy)
Monster Magnet - "Mindless Ones" (from Last Patrol)
Monkey 3 - "Once We Were..." (from The 5th Sun
Domovoyd - "Effluvial Condenser (Edit)" (from Oh Sensibility)
Kimi Kärki - "Young Goodman Brown" (from the forthcoming album The Bone of My Bones)
Electric Moon - "From the Mountains (Live)" (from Live in Torino at the United Club)
Oranssi Pazuzu - "Olen Aukaissut Uuden Silmän" (from Valonielu)
Manthra Dei - "Xolotl" (from S/T)
Night Beats - "Sonic Bloom" (from Sonic Bloom)
White Manna - "I'm Comin Home" (from Dune Worship)
Our Solar System - "Neptunus" (from Vart Solsystem)
Papir Meets Electric Moon - "Farewell Mr. Space Echo (Edit)" (from The Papermoon Sessions)
Krautzone - "Liebe" (from Kosmische Rituale)

Domovoyd: Oh Sensibility

Svart Records SVR231CD
Domovoyd is a psychedelic stoner/doom metal band from Finland playing very hazy, druggy, heavy, effect-drenched and spaced-out music. I have previously reviewed their EP that already showed a lot of promise. Oh Sensibility just recently released by Svart Records on CD and vinyl is their debut full-length, and a very good one. A lot of bands nowadays say they play psychedelic rock or pop or psychedelic metal but these guys really are psychedelic in a mind-blowing way which I love.

After the ambient and spacey “Introduction” these young stoner warriors rush into the heavy-bounding head-banging heaven called “Incarnation” that brings to mind Electric Wizard in a positive way. “By Taking Breath” is equally heavy and crushing, but sees the band going into more esoteric and hypnotic directions not unlike their label mates Dark Buddha Rising. There’s a lot of stuff happening in over nine minutes, phew… “Lamia” is a slower, doomy piece with some weird Oranssi Pazuzu –styled surf guitar (well not exactly surf but maybe you know what I mean). The vocals are harsher in this one, and the going gets groovier along the way. Sounds a bit like Church of Misery, actually, until the very atmospheric end part. My favourites are the two last, very long tracks, though. “Effluvial Condenser” is a really trippy and psychedelic song, where the guys really have found their own thing. The at first whispered mantra suits the hazy and other-worldly atmosphere very well and the track just keeps on growing and growing until your head explodes. Great! The last four minutes are just smoke vapours and echoes of your lost sanity. The last track “Argenteum Astrum” is named after a mystical order founded by Aleister Crowley, so you can maybe figure out the mood of this 16-minute esoteric occult monster. The first three minutes are quite atmospheric and dark and then they kick on all their fuzz pedals and rock out. Excellent! In the middle they cool down again for a while, but there’s another heavy attack until the laid-back but dark and hazy ending. The guys have done a very good job on their debut album, definitely one of the best Finnish albums this year. Support the psychedelic youth!

Mansion: We Shall Live

Self-released EP
Mansion (shortened from I Am Mansion) is a mysterious new female-fronted dark rock/metal band from Turku, Finland. Their image and themes are lent from Finnish apocalyptic and ascetic, Christian-based cult called Kartanolaisuus (Kartano meaning Mansion in Finnish). Its founders were two women, Alma Maria Kartano (1885–1953) and Amanda Matilda "Tilda" Reunanen (1894–1965) and the cult had some pretty weird, cruel and perverse rites and customs. You can ask if this band would have ever materialized without occult bands like Sabbath Assembly, The Devils’ Blood or Jess and the Ancient Ones, but I don’t care. At least they have a clearly Finnish theme and they actually sound really great.

This self-released EP that sold-out very quickly (both the 12” vinyl and the initial CD-R version!) has four very well produced tracks. “Mother’s Burden” starts off in peaceful, melancholy mood, but starts to rock out after one minute. I really like the singer and everybody plays really well too. This is a great, atmospheric, melodic and rather long song that turns into doom metal later on. “We Shall Live” has a heavy boogie rhythm that sort brings to mind Uncle Acid but this of course isn’t that dirty and psychedelic stuff. The vibe gets very dark towards the end, and I like this one as well. “Sorrowless” is maybe closer to NWOBHM but there’s nothing wrong with that. Nice guitar melodies! “Slumber Sermon” is probably the most mysterious and magical of all the tracks and pretty gloomy, doomy and heavy as well. The preachers of Kartanolaisuus used to fall into a slumber state before starting their powerful, apocalyptic sermons, so that’s what this is all about. Very strong stuff and my favourite song on this EP! I’ve only seen this band live once (supporting the mighty Lord Vicar) but I really enjoyed myself so I can promise that the Roadburn audience will be spell-bound next year. Let’s hope that there will be a re-issue of this EP and that the band will also record a full-length soon since this is very cool stuff. In the meantime, you can download the EP from their Bandcamp site and try to catch them alive…